Ema is a very attractive but innocent girl, so pretty that cars crash in her presence. Young marries Dr. Carlo Paiva, who she is not attracted to, but is her father's friend. They move to ... See full summary »
Manoel de Oliveira
Cécile Sanz de Alba,
Luís Miguel Cintra
Manoel is aging film director who travels with the film crew through Portugal in search of the origins of Afonso, a famous French actor whose father emigrated from Portugal to France and in... See full summary »
In eighteenth-century France a girl (Suzanne Simonin) is forced against her will to take vows as a nun. Three mothers superior (Madame de Moni, Sister Sainte-Christine, and Madame de ... See full summary »
Episodes from entire military history of Portugal are told through flashbacks as a professorish soldier recounts them while marching through a Portuguese African colony in 1973. He easily ... See full summary »
Manoel de Oliveira
Luís Miguel Cintra,
The film shows a recreation of an "Auto", an ancient passion play (the passion refers to Christ's arrest and execution), produced by Portugese villagers and re-run for Portugese director Manoel de Oliveira's cameras. Manoel is, incredibly, still making films well over a century since he was born.
The film is shot entirely in the open air. It includes shots of the film crew shooting, and idle passers-by come to watch. The film's gives us three time-lines, the time of Christ's death, the world of Francisco Vaz De Guimaraes, the 16th writer of the play, and the year the film was shot. I think it's probably the best attempt at transparency a filmmaker can make.
I heard that this film required the occasional suspension of disbelief and so I had a couple of drinks before the showing at the London Film Festival to mellow out during the viewing. I guess it worked because I didn't find anything ridiculous. Indeed I can't think of anything less pretentious than these Portugese villagers performing their play. I think it presents faith in an extremely palatable way, and is at times deeply moving. Although essentially a documentary, de Oliveira occasionally brings in some nifty camera-work and the occasional special effect. The sheer simplicity of the villagers speaks volumes, and reminds me of Mark Chapter 10 verse 15 "I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it".
Aside from the faith aspects, the film is very beautiful and captures a lovely quality of light, of a late Mediterranean afternoon. Not wanting to spoil the ending, I shall just say it was magnificent and lovely.
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